Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC)

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The Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) are defined in the framework of the so-called cross compliance.

In order to ensure that all agricultural land, especially land which is no longer used for production purposes, is maintained in good agricultural and environmental conditions, Member States shall define minimum requirements on the basis of Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No 1306/2013. Minimum GAECs requirements should be defined taking into account the specific characteristics of the areas concerned, including soil and climatic condition, existing farming systems, land use, crop rotation, farming practices and farm structures.

Minimum requirement can be defined at national or regional level.

Member States shall not define minimum requirements which are established in Annex II.

The implementation of the GAEC framework results in a high variety of minimum requirements throughout Europe and sometimes even within the MS when GAECs are defined at regional level.

GAEC, according to Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No 1306/2013


This table is an extract of the Annex II.

Area Main Issue Requirements and Standards
Environmental, climate change, good agricultural condition of land
Water GAEC 1: Establishment of buffer strips along water courses
GAEC 2: Where use of water for irrigation is subject to authorisation, compliance with authorisation procedures
GAEC 3: Protection of ground water against pollution: prohibition of direct discharge into groundwater and measures to prevent indirect pollution of groundwater through discharge on the ground and percolation through the soil of dangerous substances, as listed in the Annex to Directive 80/68/EEC in its version in force on the last day of its validity, as far as it relates to agricultural activity
Soil and carbon stock GAEC 4: Minimum soil cover
GAEC 5: Minimum land management reflecting site specific conditions to limit erosion
GAEC 6: Maintenance of soil organic matter level through appropriate practices including ban on burning arable stubbles, except for plant health reasons
Landscape, minimum level of maintenance GAEC 7: Retention of landscape features, including where appropriate, hedges, ponds, ditches, trees in line, in group or isolated, field margins and terraces, and including a ban on cutting hedges and trees during the bird breeding and rearing season and, as an option, measures for avoiding invasive plant species